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Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Brinker’

Q: Ms. Brinker, can you explain why you’re ending your longstanding relationship with Planned Parenthood?

Brinker: I don’t think that’s an entirely accurate depiction of what has happened. The Komen Foundation has provided funding to Planned Parenthood for the purpose of providing breast screenings. Planned Parenthood performs palpations of the breast, manually feeling for lumps. While these palpations discover lumps and result in mammogram referrals, they do not detect tumors in their most nascent stages. While we’re confident that Planned Parenthood will continue to perform manual exams as a part of their overall physical examination of women, the Komen Foundation is moving in the direction of funding actual mammograms.

Q: But what of the assertion by Planned Parenthood’s supporters that this move on your part will hurt women who will not be seen by Planned Parenthood?

Brinker: We’re talking about $600,000 of Komen money used to help offset some of Planned Parenthood’s costs. Our money represents six-tenths of one-onethousanth of Planned Parenthood’s one billion dollar per year operations. You’re not suggesting that Planned Parenthood is so mercenary that they wouldn’t pick up those exams on a pro-bono basis, are you? Besides, since our announcement, Planned Parenthood has raised more than the $600,000 that we have redirected to mammograms. If an organization can raise close to one million dollars in less than a week, then they no longer need our assistance. That represents a win for women.

Q: Yes, but aren’t you capitulating to anti-choice staff members for whom this is a proxy war over abortion?

Brinker: Don’t be absurd. I began this foundation in order to fulfill a deathbed promise to my sister, Susan, who was taken from us by breast cancer. As the head of a foundation that has raised nearly two billion dollars, I have a moral and ethical obligation to see to it that every dollar goes to advancing the highest caliber science, detection, and therapeutics for breast cancer.

Q: But…

Brinker: Please let me finish. Mammography requires the very best equipment and the very best radiologists to accurately interpret the images. This is simply beyond Planned Parenthood’s expertise and mission. We made a prudential decision to fund mammograms for women. Given Planned Parenthood’s demonstrated capacity this week to raise more money in three days than we give them in one year, I fully expect that as we expand our funding of mammography, Planned Parenthood will expand their manual breast screening and referral program. I just don’t see where women lose in this scenario.

Q: Are you concerned that corporations are threatening to cease funding Komen over this decision?

Brinker: Of course I am. I’m also mystified. We’re trying to fund an increase in the number of women who have the earliest detection of their breast cancer with the best possible outcome and for this we face withdrawal of support? I think you need to ask those corporate sponsors why they prefer we fund pre-mammography science as opposed to state of the art radiography.

Q: Perhaps these corporations see a value in Planned Parenthood’s services that you don’t?

Well, I see that you have a wedding band on your left hand, sir. So let me ask you this… If you had a choice of only one option, would you prefer that your wife receive annual manual exams at Planned Parenthood until a lump large enough to be palpated is detected, or would you rather she receive mammograms at state of the art centers, interpreted by experienced radiologists who could detect tumors too small to be palpated; tumors in their earliest stages where the disease is contained and the prognosis most positive? Our mission at Komen is to fund the very latest in science and technology, and this is way beyond Planned Parenthood’s current capacity, or even anything they could do in the near future.

Q: Getting back to the assertion by the anti-choice activists who have led the charge on efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, there are some who note Komen’s timing and the fact that you have anti-choice staff members. How do you respond?

Brinker: Our decision was not political, but prudential. We’re funding mammograms. However, let me say this. Whether or not a person is pro-choice or anti-choice, there have been a disturbing series of undercover videos of Planned Parenthood staffers acting with less than professional decorum. There are also investigations underway where Planned Parenthood has been advised that their answers may lead to self-incrimination. Now, perhaps these investigations are indeed politically motivated. That doesn’t mean that there may not be merit to the allegations being made. Time, and the process, will tell. We have decided not to fund organizations under investigation. In the case of Planned Parenthood, as I have said, their demonstrated capacity to raise in three days more money than we funded in an entire year really makes this a moot issue. Last Question…

Q: Going forward, assuming that Planned Parenthood is cleared of all allegations, will you resume funding them?

Brinker: This is beginning to resemble the movie, “Groundhog Day.” No, we will not. Given the economy, and given the fact that only about 10% of NIH research grant applications are being funded, there is no shortage of researchers who are desperate for research money. We live in the greatest country in the world, with the best medicine and best researchers. We are Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and that’s where our focus will remain moving forward. We excel at sponsoring the best current technology, and developing the next generation of technology. That’s where we need to be. With their newfound money, we’re delighted that Planned Parenthood will have the means to continue their breast screening program, even expanding it, and look forward to their referring women to the local mammography centers whom we’ll be funding. This is a win-win for women, folks. Let’s keep them as the focus, the women. Together, we’ll one day end this scourge. Thank You.

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1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

~Luke 19:1-10

Earlier this week, the pro-life community had high hopes as Planned Parenthood announced that Susan G. Komen for the Cure had withdrawn their funding…

…sort of.

Komen would not give money beyond funds committed for this fiscal year to an organization that was under government investigation and who didn’t do mammograms. Komen would no longer issue “pass-through” grants, which payed PP to be the middle-man. Jubilation erupted amongst pro-lifers and the word went out to start funding Komen.

Then came yesterday’s clarification by Komen. They will not fund organizations under criminal investigation (but exempted “political” investigations). Further, they reaffirmed their commitment to funding the existing grants, and preserved PP’s eligibility to apply for future grants.

That doesn’t mean PP will actually get the grants. Theoretically, any women’s health agency is eligible to apply.

Then the word went out in many pro-life quarters to stop funding Komen until we see how this clarification plays itself out. As institutional and political policy goes, that’s pretty sound advice. There is, however, a very human dimension that such policy overlooks, and we need to examine that dimension in light of the Gospel story shared above.

Jesus didn’t wait for sinners to convert before He called to them, ate and drank with them. That peeved the religious leadership of His day. He didn’t demand conversion as a precondition for His love. Conversion was the consequence of being encountered by the love of Jesus.

Zacchaeus was the Cecile Richards of his day. He defrauded his people as he collected taxes for the Roman occupiers. Like Richards, he was a social leper, a pariah. Brinker’s support of PP and her association with Richards has made her little better in the eyes of pro-lifers, a status not altogether undeserved.

I have written about this unholy alliance, as have many, many others. In December, Komen began to change course. Planned Parenthood has had six weeks to organize and gin up their attack machine, making it appear as though there was a groundswell of support for PP and disgust for Komen. Something is being missed here, regarding Brinker.

She has been in bed with PP for years. We ardently desire to see that relationship end, however it should be noted that Satan doesn’t let go easily when we try to climb out of bed with him. Such was the case this week when Komen was savagely attacked, and for what?

Not funding Planned Parenthood for not doing mammograms.

Facing an existential threat, Komen backpedaled.

The response from the pro-life community ought to be the full embrace of Brinker, to let her know that it will be alright in the end. We should gin up our own attack machine against any corporation that breaks faith with Komen because they dare to fund actual mammograms over PP’s cheap squeeze. We should savage any group that dares to castigate Komen for wanting the best for our women, instead of second-best.

No, Brinker is unlikely to come up to the communion rail and profess Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior.

No, there won’t be a made-for-TV moment of conversion.

If that’s what people were expecting, forget it.

Brinker has a tiger by the tail and got a good lesson in how badly mauled she can get for letting go. Now she’s reeling from the mauling, and this is no time for us to sit on our hands. This is when she needs our support the most. Her conversion will be gradual, and painful. The magnitude of her past sin in bedding down with PP determines the magnitude of the consequences for breaking those ties, and the magnitude of support she will need in going forward.

We need to meet with Brinker, in private and in strictest confidence to ascertain her needs and how we can help Komen be all that it can be ethically and morally in its vital mission in saving women’s lives. We need to offer her more than a kind word for attempting doing the right thing.

We need to offer her our Christian love, a love that calls to her in her own self-imposed social exile as Jesus called to Zacchaeus in his, a love that is unconditional. Then we need to embrace each change, no matter how small.

Nancy Brinker is a woman who has tried to chart a new course and was savaged with a hellish fury this week. The question for us this week is who we wish to emulate:

Jesus, or the crowd who muttered, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

Until Brinker shoves us away definitively, I’m with Jesus. I’ll gladly dine with Nancy Brinker and support her in any way that I can. She is a woman of great influence for good or ill, and that is why Hell unleashed its minions on her this week.

Pray for her.

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Dear Ms. Brinker,

As one who has been at odds with SGK over your organization’s funding of Planned Parenthood, I write today to offer you my heartfelt gratitude and congratulations for the principled and prudential position that you have taken in defunding Planned Parenthood.

Having lost many family members to cancer, and having several close friends experience the ravages of breast cancer, I’ve experienced this issue intimately and laud you for making good on your deathbed promise to your sister, Susan. You have done what so many researchers could only dream of.

You have rallied an entire nation around women and the disease that strikes fear not only into their hearts, but into the hearts of the men who love them passionately. You have raised hundreds of millions of research dollars and in so doing have advanced the understanding of molecular medicine in the field of oncology far beyond where it would be today, but for your foundation’s single-mindedness of purpose.

In all of that focus on research, you have not forgotten the women of today who lack the means for appropriate breast screening utilizing state of the art mammography, and the need for younger women to be educated in prevention. Toward that end, it is my understanding that you and Planned Parenthood saw a shared mission and purpose in the field of women’s health where breast cancer screening and prevention were concerned.

Many of us heard of your largesse in funding breast screenings at Planned Parenthood, screenings which we were told included mammograms. Tragically, we have come to know that Planned Parenthood lied about performing mammograms, and in so doing took money from SGK that might have otherwise benefited women through mammography elsewhere, or through additional research.

Over the past few years, repeated sting operations have time and again caught Planned Parenthood acting with treachery:

Lying about performing mammograms.
Aiding in what they perceived to be the sex trafficking of minors.
Suborning lies from perceived minors to skirt reporting of statutory rape.
Lying about the developmental status of the baby they were about to abort.

And on, and on…

SGK’s February 1, 2012 statement of clarification speaks very clearly as to why the defunding took place:

We are dismayed and extremely disappointed that actions we have taken to strengthen our granting process have been widely mischaracterized. It is necessary to set the record straight.

Starting in 2010, Komen began an initiative to help us do a better job of measuring the impact of community grants. This is important because we invest significant dollars in our local community programs–$93 million in 2011, which provided for 700,000 breast health screenings and diagnostic procedures.

Following this review, we made the decision to implement stronger performance criteria for our grantees to minimize duplication and free up dollars for direct services to help vulnerable women. To support this new granting strategy, Komen has also implemented more stringent eligibility standards to safeguard donor dollars. Consequently, some organizations are no longer eligible to receive Komen grants.

Some might argue that our standards are too exacting, but over the past three decades people have given us more than just their money. They have given us their trust and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We regret that these new policies have impacted some longstanding grantees, such as Planned Parenthood, but want to be absolutely clear that our grant-making decisions are not about politics. Throughout our 30 year history, our priority has always been and will continue to be the women we serve. As we move forward, we are working to ensure that there is no interruption or gaps in services for the women who need our support most in the fight against breast cancer.

Indeed your stringent criteria leave little room for organizations that are repeatedly caught in sting operations either lying to, or suborning lies from young people. Such criteria also no doubt would require an organization such as Planned Parenthood to actually perform the mammograms they claim to perform, or at the very least, set the record straight when others make such false claims on their behalf.

So now you are being assailed by Planned Parenthood and their devotees for being…

…what?

Anti-women’s health?

That’s a tough narrative to sell where SGK is concerned.

If the word circulating on the internet is true, Planned Parenthood has raised over $400,000 in response to your withdrawal of funding. This is indeed good news all around. Planned Parenthood has demonstrated repeatedly that when monies are withdrawn they have the capability of stepping up and doing the necessary fundraising to offset and replace the lost income. That is a cardinal sign of a strong and financially healthy organization. It means that SGK can give their support elsewhere, confident in knowing that Planned Parenthood can thrive without your support.

You have acted here with the highest integrity and moral courage. Your manifest integrity should serve as a beacon to corporations that currently fund Planned Parenthood, and who might fear the backlash and vilifying you have been receiving should they similarly redirect their money. I would encourage those corporations to fund real women’s health initiatives by funding Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Such a move would indemnify themselves against Planned Parenthood’s predictable allegation of hating women and not supporting women’s health. It would also increase your efficacy in accelerating the arrival of that day when this terrible scourge becomes a thing of the past. Perhaps corporations switching their support might in conjunction with SGK establish a program of purchasing and donating mammogram machines to areas of need, especially for low-income women.

For now, Ms. Brinker, my heartfelt congratulations and gratitude once again for your principled leadership in upholding your exacting standards with equally rigorous equanimity, regardless of the consequences. Through your principled leadership, many more women’s lives will be saved, and many more women made whole once again.

God Bless You,

Gerard M. Nadal, Ph.D.

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